Are Speakers Input or Output? 3 Facts

You may wonder whether speakers are input or output devices. After all, they receive input in the form of audio signals and turn them into sound waves. But to do away with any confusion about whether speakers are input or output devices, we must first be clear about what input and output devices are and the difference between them.

A speaker is a hardware component used for audio output that is connected to a computer. The sound card in the computer generates the signal that is needed to generate the sound that comes directly from a computer speaker.

Keep reading to learn more!

Input Devices

An input device is a hardware component attached to the computer system that receives signals and transmits data to the computer for processing. Computer input devices commonly include a touch screen, mouse, and keyboard. These are used to enter data and commands directly. Input devices may also include microphones and joysticks.

The user can enter data and commands into the computer via these devices. An input device can send data, but it cannot receive data from some other device. They are user-controlled and involve complicated coding.

Output Devices

An output device is a hardware component used to accept information from the computer, such as text, images, touch, audio, and video, to carry out a task. The output devices replicate, interpret, or present the outcomes of the data processing. A printer or a monitor are just two examples of output devices.

A device that produces output usually receives input from another device and uses that data to produce output. The user simply needs to view the outcome because the computer controls the entire process of output devices; hence, they are not required to understand the complete workflow.

Difference Between Input and Output Devices

An output device is attached to a computer that accepts incoming data, whereas an input device is attached to a computer that sends out data into the computer. The output device replicates or displays the data that was sent by the input device to the computer for processing.

Some devices can both accept input and produce output, although the majority of devices can only be used as either input or output devices.

A Bit About Speakers

Speakers are transducers that turn audio signals into sound waves and are frequently connected to computers, including loudspeakers and studio monitors (laptops, smartphones, etc.)

Related: 10 Best Computer Speakers for Gaming

Input or Output

Are studio monitors and speakers input or output devices? Below we discuss 3 important facts

1. When a computer (laptop, smartphone, etc.) is linked to speakers, the computer outputs data for the speakers to receive. As a result, devices such as speakers, monitors, and loudspeakers are output by nature.

2. The speaker’s function is to transform electrical energy from analogue audio signals into sound waves (mechanical wave energy). In this approach, sound waves are the “output” of speakers, and audio signals are the “input.”

3. The definitions of input and output devices should be understood in the relative context of a computer system. As a thought experiment, let’s consider the energy “input” and “output” from the speaker’s context to better understand how speakers function as transducers. Speakers and headphones use drivers to convert energy. Although this is not always the case, speaker drivers often have large motors.

These are typically dynamic (moving coil) drivers that work using electromagnetic induction. Through a conductive voice coil, electrical audio signals (AC voltages) are entered or inputted. This voice coil is suspended in a magnetic field and is attached to a moving diaphragm. The coil moves as the signal travel through it. As a result, the diaphragm responds accordingly to the audio signal.

The speaker effectively outputs sound waves created by the diaphragm’s movement as it pushes and pulls air.

Can Speakers be Used as Microphones?

Moving-coil microphone cartridges are wired similarly to electrodynamic (moving-coil) speaker drivers but in reverse.Microphones turn sound into audio, whereas speakers turn sound into sound. Their general design is the same, though.

By extension, it is possible to turn speakers into microphones and vice versa. Naturally, just because it is doable doesn’t guarantee that the outcome will be excellent.

The purpose of a microphone is to generate low-level, full-range mic signals. If the microphone were wired backward, speaker-level signals would destroy the mic cartridge.

High-level signals with constrained bandwidth are used in speakers to produce loud sounds with high sound pressure levels. Therefore, even shouting would provide a weak signal with a poor frequency response when done through speakers set up as microphones.

9 Important Types of Speakers

Electronic audio speakers come in many different varieties. Usually, a home theatre system has at least six speakers. Naturally, each type of speaker has a somewhat different arrangement and set of physical properties to handle various sound frequencies. Various technologies may be combined by individual speakers to produce the most resonant audio.

In any case, consumers must be informed about the speakers they buy and use at home. Below, we discuss the 9 most important types of speakers commonly available to consumers.


Woofers produce sound between 40 Hz and 1 kHz, which is the lower range of audible frequencies. They are frequently referred to as bass speakers as a result. Solid bass and lower frequency sounds are produced by a standard woofer. There would always be at least one woofer speaker in any given home theatre arrangement.

Most of the bass from music or video content is typically audible to listeners with this kind of speaker. Woofer speakers are larger than other types of speakers, yet they do not take up much room in theatre systems and other configurations. They are relatively small and light enough to easily move around. An individual may install these speakers in numerous setups and locations at home.


Even lower than the woofer, the frequency range that subwoofers typically cover is 20 to 200 Hz. Such frequencies give significantly deeper bass than a typical woofer. The sound produced by subwoofers may travel through walls and floors in all directions. Everyone nearby may well be able to hear sounds from the home theatre systems and even cars with subwoofers.

Subwoofers produce a lot more bass than a regular woofer does. As a result, it is easy for listeners to tell apart woofers from subwoofers. Both the woofer and the subwoofer enable the listener to hear and feel the bass. Subwoofers are advised for home theatre and audio systems since they produce significantly greater bass.

Subwoofers can be positioned wherever to create the bass in a particular setup.

Mid-Range Speakers

Most of the time, mid-range speakers can reproduce sounds between 200 Hz and 5 kHz. These speakers and tweeters share some of the frequency range. Midrange driver speakers typically provide sounds like human speech or playing musical instruments. Together with woofers and subwoofers, they offer a fuller sound profile. These speakers might also be referred to as mid-woofers.

On that topic, most of the sound we hear in movies, TV shows, and music comes from midrange speakers. Comparatively speaking, these speakers don’t have as much bass as subwoofers. Depending on the listener’s preference for bass, that could either be a good or a bad thing.


As can be expected, tweeters control and generate higher frequencies than woofers. They frequently deal with audio and sounds between 2 kHz and 20 kHz. For producing sound with higher frequencies, tweeters use a variety of technologies and procedures.

However, the most popular option for these speakers continues to be conventional electromagnetic speakers. For rich and pleasurable sound, whether for music or movies, all audio setups must generate higher frequencies.

Tweeters got their name from the sound that birds make. Most tweeters produce the 20 kHz range, which is the maximum the human ear can detect and process. However, certain tweeters offer even higher frequency output for audiophiles and other special cases. In both household and business settings, tweeter speakers have many applications and should be considered a must-buy.

Full-Range Driver Speakers

Compared to woofers and tweeters, full-range driver speakers use a different approach. These devices try to output the broadest spectrum of audio frequencies. They typically operate between 60Hz to 20+ kHz.

They are made to offer an all-in-one remedy to many speaker configurations in that vein. Although they take up less room, they do not create as powerful audio. The lows and highs of a woofer and a tweeter simply cannot be produced by a full-range driver speaker.

Full-range driver speakers can be quite beneficial given this. Audio quality can be “good enough” with a smaller footprint. A premium audio output for an audiophile audience is not necessary for every audio circumstance. These speakers are reasonably priced and appropriate for many uses around the house.

TV Soundbars

One alternative to a home theatre system with many speakers is a TV sound bar. The sound produced by modern flat-screen televisions is poor. On the other hand, high-end home theatre speakers are very expensive. The audio quality offered by sound bars is substantially superior to that of television speakers. They offer clients a more affordable alternative to home theatre speakers. In some ways, sound bars resemble full-range driver speakers.

Many sound bars incorporate a separate woofer unit since they usually are unable to generate deep bass. Quality sound bars offer an enjoyable listening experience at a fraction of the cost. As a compromise, listeners may have to miss out on the highest and lowest frequencies. But setting up or moving a soundbar couldn’t be simpler.

Outdoor Speakers

Any of the speakers that were previously mentioned can be used as outdoor speakers. For the finest sound, most outdoor speaker systems use a variety of speaker types. They may also be positioned on the floor or mounted to a wall or any other object. Whether owners prefer their outdoor speakers to be fixed or portable, manufacturers provide a wide selection of options.

Installations with a single speaker or several speakers are possible outside. Outdoor speakers, in contrast to speakers inside, are exposed to the weather. Normal speakers are not made to withstand the moisture and grime that are present outside. Outdoor speakers are typically made with waterproof internals and materials to increase their durability.

Speakers are frequently moisture resistant but not entirely water resistant.

Tower/Floor-Standing Speakers

Today, tower and floor-standing speakers are still the most popular option. A combination of these speaker types can be found in the typical home theatre setup. Tower speakers frequently come with a stand that supports the speaker. Sometimes the speaker will be built like a tower.

Additionally, the entire tower unit typically comprises a variety of speakers, including woofers, tweeters, and others. Speakers that are floor-standing can be set up on the ground, on a shelf, or on another kind of stand. Some of these speakers even allow for inventive wall and ceiling mounting.

The most adaptable options should be thought of as both varieties of speakers. They can be arranged in many ways in any size room. It is always feasible to have a pleasant listening experience, even though some layouts will change the acoustics.

Smart Speakers

These speakers have Wi-Fi capabilities and are connected to a digital assistant. Voice assistants like Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa are frequently used via speakers. Smart speakers can play music and deliver weather updates because of this connectivity. They can give consumers access to their bank account balance or even a list of cooking recipes.

The standard audio technologies are included in smart speakers for sound output. They frequently perform like full-range driver speakers because of their small size. The sound quality is “good enough,” but they offer many more features than a typical speaker.

Recently, smart speakers with more powerful and detailed audio output have been introduced. Perhaps sooner rather than later, a smart speaker for audiophiles will be accessible.

Related: Soundbar Vs Bookshelf Speakers – Which is Better for PC?

Final words

Speakers play an important role in a computer’s sound system. When seen in the context of the computer, speakers are output devices. There are many different types of speakers available on the market for different frequency ranges and functions.

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